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    January 2011

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    What I'm Reading

    • A.S. Byatt: The Children's Book

      A.S. Byatt: The Children's Book
      This was my holiday read this year...on my Kindle. It is a very long novel...nearly 700 pages. The Kindle doesn't use page numbers, it presents percentage read. The first 10% seemed to take awhile...but, then I trucked through the story. I've read many if not most of Ms. Byatt's novels. This one is controversial due to its epic nature - many decades and many more characters. I liked it. She portrays what it is like to be a teller of tales...and how "reality" is often stranger than fiction. It seemed right to read a story that transcends a century and to read about the magnitude of change that people encountered moving from the 1890's to the 1900's and into the teens. One notable point, the US of A was a non-entity from the POV of this cast of characters from across the pond...

    • Martin Suter: A Deal with the Devil (Eurocrime series)

      Martin Suter: A Deal with the Devil (Eurocrime series)
      Another book I've read recently. This time while in Basel, Switzerland...a book by a Swiss author. Martin Suter had me on my toes, or at least my nose in a book for a couple of days.

    • Brad Meltzer: The Book of Lies

      Brad Meltzer: The Book of Lies
      I read this while at my folks' house last weekend. Meltzer built a tall tale around the murder of Jerry Siegel's father. Jerry is one of the original creators of Superman. A fast read.

    • William Boyd: Ordinary Thunderstorms: A Novel

      William Boyd: Ordinary Thunderstorms: A Novel
      Is it possible to just disappear in London? Or, any big city? Adam does. Or does he? This novel contains commentary about the pharmaceutical research and regulatory processes and the lengths some people will go to...to make money.

    • Nicolas Dickner: Nikolski

      Nicolas Dickner: Nikolski
      I found this incredibly entertaining novel in Quebec city. It takes place in Montreal. The story is quirky...as well as its characters.

    • Frode Grytten: The Shadow in the River

      Frode Grytten: The Shadow in the River
      When I travel I look for books by local authors. I bought this at the airport in Oslo on my way home from Trondheim, Norway. It's a rather dark story about a small town's 21st century struggles.

    • Neal Stephenson: Zodiac

      Neal Stephenson: Zodiac
      Gosh, I read this during the summer...must have been right after I quit logging books. As those of you who follow this list know, I LOVE Neal Stephenson. This is one of his early books. There is a reference to "Sweetvale College" located in some of Boston's most expensive suburbs where there is a wooded area with a pond and a running trail and a forgotten hazardous waste dump. Hmmm...sounds familiar.

    • Trevanian: Shibumi: A Novel

      Trevanian: Shibumi: A Novel
      Another social network recommendation. This one through the Facebook meme where people were asked to name 15 most memorable books. Jennifer Canipe listed this novel and a number of her friends agreed. This was the first novel I read on my Kindle. I'd thought I'd only use the Kindle for non-fiction, but it turns out (what a surprise) that I have no problem reading fiction on it either!

    • Carlos Ruiz Zafón: The Shadow of the Wind

      Carlos Ruiz Zafón: The Shadow of the Wind
      Some of the best book recommendations I've received are through a strange network of IBMers called Kraken. Every so often people share their holiday reading favorites. This novel was on the list and I'm a sucker for any book that people compare to Foucault's Pendulum.

    • Mary Ann Shaffer: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

      Mary Ann Shaffer: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
      A thoroughly enjoyable, old fashioned novel, with a modern young woman as the main character that takes place post-World War II. I recommended this to my mom. : )

    • Stieg Larsson: The Girl Who Played with Fire

      Stieg Larsson: The Girl Who Played with Fire
      The second in this series that takes place in Sweden. I learned a Kindle lesson reading this novel. I traveled to Norway without taking my charger. I hadn't anticipated buying this novel on my way because I decided I just couldn't read more non-fiction. It was a race between me and the remaining battery charge. As I read the very last sentence the Kindle went poof...juice gone. Novel was worth the tension and stress!

    • Tom Piazza: City of Refuge: A Novel (P.S.)

      Tom Piazza: City of Refuge: A Novel (P.S.)
      I was in New Orleans this September. It was my first time there. I'd like to go back, because all I saw was my hotel, the French Quarter, and the convention center. On my way out of town, I bought Tom Piazza's novel about Katrina. It was a good way to learn about the non-tourist side of this incredible city.

    • Dan Roam: The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures

      Dan Roam: The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures
      This could be a primer for new consultants...or old consultants. This is not a good book to buy for the Kindle. I could not see the pictures well, and the book is all about the pictures. My work around was to look at them on my iPhone (where I have the Kindle for iPhone app). Dan Roam spoke to our IBM Web2.0 for Business community book club. He was a good choice for as a speaker. He was interesting, down to earth, and we were in awe of his web based drawing techniques.

    • Malcolm Gladwell: Outliers: The Story of Success

      Malcolm Gladwell: Outliers: The Story of Success
      A quick read, this was in many ways a continuation of the book I'd just finished. Mr. Gladwell is an entertaining writer and certainly presents some interesting ideas. Nature, nurture, circumstances, date of birth, and 10,000 hours of practice...are what makes each of us what and who we are. I wonder if my Japanese rice planting ancestors are what have caused me to be so diligent at solving Sudoku puzzles.

    • Winifred Gallagher: Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life

      Winifred Gallagher: Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life
      My first read on my new Kindle. It was an appropriate choice as not only was I enthralled with the topic of this book, but I was in love with my new reading device! Be intentional about what you attend to is the key message of this book.

    • Rawi Hage: De Niro's Game: A Novel (P.S.)

      Rawi Hage: De Niro's Game: A Novel (P.S.)
      This is a novel about a young man growing up, living, surviving and leaving Beirut. It is a whole different take on the idea of "boys will be boys" given the context of this war zone. Fast motorbikes, girls, drugs, guns...

    • Kate Atkinson: When Will There be Good news?

      Kate Atkinson: When Will There be Good news?
      I think I like this novel because the characters are quirky in very non-quirky ways. Well, except for Reggie, she's just plain quirky, especially for a young woman. This isn't your normal mystery or crime drama. I read it in one sitting.

    • Neil Gaiman: The Graveyard Book

      Neil Gaiman: The Graveyard Book
      Another story from the POV of a young boy. This one, Bod Owens, who grows up in a graveyard. I couldn't stop crying at the end. Bod was all grown up and about to go experience the world, and I, like the ghosts, witch and vampire, was so sad the story was over. Once again, Neil Gaiman is BRILLIANT! This time maybe more so than ever.

    • Twyla Tharp: The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

      Twyla Tharp: The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
      I've been asked by the people I work for to think about my personal and professional goals. The HBS handouts don't speak to me nearly as much as Ms. Tharp's musings about boxes, scratching, spine, skill, and failure.

    • Zadie Smith: The Autograph Man

      Zadie Smith: The Autograph Man
      I seem to be on a roll reading novels from the perspective of boys. This boy Alex-Li Tandem, a Chinese-Jewish Londoner, was created by a woman. There is a bit of wrestling, Chinese medicine, Kabbalah and Hollywood amongst the antics of Alex-Li and his friends - men, women, Chinese, black, white, young, and old.

    • Qiu Xiaolong: A Case of Two Cities: An Inspector Chen Novel (Inspector Chen Cao)

      Qiu Xiaolong: A Case of Two Cities: An Inspector Chen Novel (Inspector Chen Cao)
      Second time I've read a Qiu Xiaolong novel while in Shanghai. It just seems like the right thing to do. Inspector Chen continues to be a great guide not only of Shanghai but also of St. Louis.

    • Sherman Alexie: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

      Sherman Alexie: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
      I read this novel on the way to Shanghai. Actually, I bought it when I missed my flight, and I read most of it the next day when I actually flew. This is a truly American story in all its pain and glory.

    • Joshua Ferris: Then We Came to the End: A Novel

      Joshua Ferris: Then We Came to the End: A Novel
      I still can't decide if I like this National Book Award finalist or not. I can't decide if I'm too close to his depictions of office life, or too far removed. It started off very funny and then well...it wasn't. I did plow through the novel in pretty much one weekend...and I have to admit, the last three sentences just about killed me.

    • Shelley Freydont: The Sudoku Murder: A Katie McDonald Mystery

      Shelley Freydont: The Sudoku Murder: A Katie McDonald Mystery
      I admit. I'm addicted to Sudoku. It has gotten even worse now that I have it on my iPhone. While this is pretty much par for the course for small town murder mysteries. It was fun to play the Sudoku's throughout.

    • Tinling Choong: Firewife

      Tinling Choong: Firewife
      I was browsing through this book and saw a reference to Wellesley College. ONLY after I bought it did I realize that Tinling Choong is a fellow alumnae. The stories are memorable and they interweave in a very clever way.

    • Miyuki Miyabe: Shadow Family

      Miyuki Miyabe: Shadow Family
      I love Japanese fiction. This one isn't nearly as weird as the last couple of book I've read. Funny, the shadow family is an "online" family of the 2 dimensional versus virtual world kind. The tech world has changed a ton in the 8 years since this book was written.

    • Aravind Adiga: The White Tiger: A Novel (Man Booker Prize)

      Aravind Adiga: The White Tiger: A Novel (Man Booker Prize)
      Crazy, dark, funny novel. After traveling to India, my boss said to me, "India is a land of simplicity and complexity." So incredibly true. This novel reflects it and with no sugar coating. Tomorrow I hand it off to my friend Shefali to see what she thinks of Mr. Adiga's POV. I found it quite wonderful.

    • Neal Stephenson: The Confusion (The Baroque Cycle, Vol. 2)

      Neal Stephenson: The Confusion (The Baroque Cycle, Vol. 2)
      I read this during the holidays, which feels like a long time ago. This is the 2nd in a trilogy, and I read Quicksilver the 1st novel 4 years ago. At 800+ pages it took awhile to get my energy up to plunge in again. I do hope I don't wait as long to get to book 3. Neal Stephenson's characters are like old friends.

    • William Gibson: Spook Country

      William Gibson: Spook Country
      Spies, musicians, journalists, the military industrial complex, money launderers, 3D Internet and GPS, art, marketers, Cuban-Chinese, French, Americans, Canadians, Belgians...and more.

    • Junot Díaz: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

      Junot Díaz: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
      Wonderful, wonderful story. Classic American immigrant tale...which means, to quote our new President, "our stories are singular but our destinies are shared."

    • Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

      Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
      I picked this up in Singapore at the airport and just got around to reading it. It is by a Swedish author who suddenly died after delivering 3 novels to his publisher. I CANNOT wait to read Steig Larsson's other two books. I could not put the first one down!

    • Qiu Xiaolong: Red Mandarin Dress

      Qiu Xiaolong: Red Mandarin Dress
      I bought this in Shanghai and finished it on the flight home. There were a number of scenes in the book located in neighborhoods where I wandered. It was a fun read.

    • Thomas Mallon: Fellow Travelers (Vintage)

      Thomas Mallon: Fellow Travelers (Vintage)
      I picked this up at the airport. It captures a time and place and how lives were lived when we had much less freedom and liberty than we do today in the US of A.

    • Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett: Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

      Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett: Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
      Another in my series to catch up with all that Neil Gaiman has written. This is a really fun story!

    • Neil Gaiman: Anansi Boys: A Novel (P.S.)

      Neil Gaiman: Anansi Boys: A Novel (P.S.)
      I think my new literary goal in life is to read everything Neil Gaiman has ever written. (Well...maybe I'll skip "Duran Duran: The First Four Years...")

    • John Twelve Hawks: The Traveler (Fourth Realm Trilogy, Book 1)

      John Twelve Hawks: The Traveler (Fourth Realm Trilogy, Book 1)
      An impulse buy at The Depot...as I was looking forward to the long weekend. I had no idea that Mr. Twelve Hawks (or perhaps Ms?) was so controversial at purchase. (It's a pseudonym and no one seems to know much about him.) I started Googling after I'd finished the novel...which I liked quite a bit. I think being reminded of the downside of always on and ubiquitous access is probably good for people like me.

    • Clare Morrall: Natural Flights of the Human Mind: A Novel (P.S.)

      Clare Morrall: Natural Flights of the Human Mind: A Novel (P.S.)
      After "Grotesque" this novel is very, very tame. At the same time it is full of a boatload of quirky characters. Quirky, funny, and often sad. Definitely worth reading.

    • Natsuo Kirino: Grotesque (Vintage International)

      Natsuo Kirino: Grotesque (Vintage International)
      Another, pretty strange book by the same author who brought us "Out." Out was about women who murder people and chop them up into little pieces and distribute the parts around Tokyo. "Grotesque" is about women who become prostitutes and I think it just might be weirder.

    • Ellen Gilchrist: The Cabal and Other Stories

      Ellen Gilchrist: The Cabal and Other Stories
      Another wonderful collection of Ellen Gilchrist stories. As I've mentioned before, I love the way this woman writes.

    • Neil Gaiman: American Gods: A Novel

      Neil Gaiman: American Gods: A Novel
      My friend Kieran blogged about psychopomps the other day...and referenced Neil Gaiman. I'm not sure how he's escaped me all these years, but I'm very happy to find him now. I'm also looking forward to reading the next one.

    • Vendela Vida: Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name: A Novel (P.S.)

      Vendela Vida: Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name: A Novel (P.S.)
      I picked this book up at the The Depot last Friday...killing time before a haircut...and I finished it that night. Vida contemplates identify...and the roles of parent and child. A trek through Lapland adds a layer of the exotic.

    • Asne Seierstad: The Bookseller of Kabul

      Asne Seierstad: The Bookseller of Kabul
      After Three Cups of Tea, I was on a bit of a roll. I'd picked this book up last Christmas, and decided to finally read it. It is a very different tale, but just as compelling.

    • Greg Mortenson: Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time

      Greg Mortenson: Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time
      My mom gave me this book for Christmas and I finished reading it on 12/27. The story of Greg Mortenson and his quest to build schools and educate girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan is heart breaking, infuriating, and inspirational. I encourage everyone to read Greg's story that takes place in a part of the world where our wars and our religious differences result in people thinking of "them" and "those people," or worse forgetting about the people completely, as opposed to our shared humanity.

    • Pamela McDuffy: Island Fever

      Pamela McDuffy: Island Fever
      I bought this novel at Hasagawa's General Store in Hana, Maui. Pamela McDuffy is a local author and my copy is signed. I like reading novels that take place where I'm traveling. I almost didn't get past chapter 1, which read more like a romance novel than a murder mystery. However, the language toned down and the story got rolling and I enjoyed it.

    • Jonathan Lethem: Motherless Brooklyn

      Jonathan Lethem: Motherless Brooklyn
      This novel is GREAT! The main character Lionel Essrog is a Touret ticcing detective. Lethem puts a whole new spin on a classic genre with a character who defies all expectation.

    • John Burdett: Bangkok Tattoo

      John Burdett: Bangkok Tattoo
      This was the first of three mysteries I read while in Hawaii in December. I'd read Bangkok 8 and it seemed high time to read the next installment about Detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep. I was not disappointed.

    • Daniel H. Pink: A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future

      Daniel H. Pink: A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future
      I'm pretty sure I am a right brainer who has tried to get a better handle on the other side in a left-brained corporate world. Pink makes the case that the whole brain is what is needed to move forward in the world. His book is encouraging, practical, and fun.

    • Michael Chabon: The Final Solution: A Story of Detection (P.S.)

      Michael Chabon: The Final Solution: A Story of Detection (P.S.)
      A delightful mystery, or as the title states, "A Story of Detection" about a young boy, his parrot, and the old man who took the time to pay close attention.

    • Ian Ayres: Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart

      Ian Ayres: Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart
      I was chatting with a colleague about a potential project, and then on the airplane I read a review about this book in Wired Magazine. I decided to stop at the Borders on the way home, and as I was parking, I realized the voice I was listening to on the BBC was Ian Ayres. I decided I had to buy his book. It is easy to understand...and perfect for number-phobic/intuitive thinkers like me.

    • Rosamund Stone Zander: The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life

      Rosamund Stone Zander: The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life
      I had the pleasure of experiencing Ben Zander at a conference last spring. He is one keynote speaker I will never forget! How he got 5,000 techie IBMers to sing Ode to Joy...in GERMAN...and with passion is a miracle. I recommend his book to all of you.

    • Kate Atkinson: Case Histories: A Novel

      Kate Atkinson: Case Histories: A Novel
      At first I didn't like this book. The opening stories were dark and gloomy. And then I slowly got sucked into the tangled web of case histories.

    • Edmundo Paz Soldan: Turing's Delirium

      Edmundo Paz Soldan: Turing's Delirium
      Another book that feeds my continual fascination with code breakers and hackers. Paz Soldan won the 2002 Bolivian National Book Award for his contribution to the genre. A Second Life foreshadowed environment called Playground plays a role in this story. Of course, all the virtual environment tales pay tribute to my favorite Neal Stephenson and his Metaverse.

    • Claire Messud: The Emperor's Children (Vintage)

      Claire Messud: The Emperor's Children (Vintage)
      A good summer read...especially for those of us who love NYC. A thirty-something story that made me realize I really have hit middle age and it isn't a terrible thing.

    • Don DeLillo: Libra (Contemporary American Fiction)

      Don DeLillo: Libra (Contemporary American Fiction)
      DeLillo's take on the most famous 20th century whodunnit. Lee Harvey Oswald, David Ferry, Bay of Pig warriors, Jack Ruby, and a band of former CIA types who are still living in shadows and trying to manipulate history. Is Oswald a double agent? A cruel man who suffers from an oppressive mother and delusions of grandeur? Or just plain crazy?

    • James Rollins: Black Order: A Sigma Novel (Sigma Force Novels)

      James Rollins: Black Order: A Sigma Novel (Sigma Force Novels)
      A "brainy thriller" that I picked up at the airport. There are nazis, buddhist monks, book dealers and lots of extraordinary spy/special-forces types.

    • Gary Shteyngart: Absurdistan: A Novel

      Gary Shteyngart: Absurdistan: A Novel
      This novel revels in the absurd. Misha Vainberg: his history, his bulk, his lovers, his antics, his people, his life in St. Petersburg and on the Caspian Sea are original and absurd...right to the very last page.

    • Frans Johansson: Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation

      Frans Johansson: Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation
      The basic premise of this book is that innovation happens as people experience new insight when different perspectives or disciplines intersect. Johansson gives many interesting examples and talks about creativity, idea generation, idea execution. It is worth reading!

    • Alan Furst: Dark Star: A Novel

      Alan Furst: Dark Star: A Novel
      One of Christine's other clients told her that she was going to throw away a bunch of books that she's read for her bookclub. Christine saved them, and I rifled through the stack and took a few. Anyway, this was one of them. It is interesting historical fiction, a brainy thriller, and a fast read.

    • Jean Houston: A Passion For the Possible: A Guide to Realizing Your True Potential

      Jean Houston: A Passion For the Possible: A Guide to Realizing Your True Potential
      I like this book because it focuses on, amongst other things, the role of memory through all senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Think of a memory from your past, and then focus on the sense. Wonderful!

    • Vince Flynn: Term Limits

      Vince Flynn: Term Limits
      So John and I were flying to Oklahoma City for the Branster's wedding and I picked this up at the Oakland Airport. It wasn't until the next day on the flight home, in the last chapter that I realized I'D READ THIS SUCKER BEFORE! I've been pondering the difference between a good read and a memorable read. This was a good read, obviously not memorable.

    • James Ellroy: The Black Dahlia

      James Ellroy: The Black Dahlia
      NOTE: I went on a detective novel binge while sick in February. To get full reading story, scroll down to Clouds of Witness and work your way up. END NOTE..... And then I stayed on the creepy path. Fast forward to 1947 LA. Black Dahlia is code name for one of Hollywood's most notorious murder victims. I got through the book fast...and then didn't pick up another novel for a MONTH!

    • Philip Kerr: The Pale Criminal

      Philip Kerr: The Pale Criminal
      I then went back in time to prewar Berlin. There are blackmailers, Nazis, and serial killers in this tale. Note, serial killers before the Nazis became one and the same. I was about half way through this novel when I decided I think I'd read it before. I'm still not completely sure. However, if you like creepy detective stories...this one is for you.

    • Walter Mosley: Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned

      Walter Mosley: Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned
      I fast forwarded from 1970's Boston to 1990's LA. Socrates Fortlow isn't a detective. In fact, he's a convict trying to get by in South Central. About a chapter into this incredible novel I realized I'd already read it. However, it is such a touching story that I kept reading and I'm glad I did.

    • Robert Parker: The Godwulf Manuscript

      Robert Parker: The Godwulf Manuscript
      From England I traveled to 1970's Boston where SCACE (Student Committee Against Capitalist Exploitation) is the prime suspect in the theft of a precious manuscript from a University library. I love this sentence, "(The dean's secretary) was back in about five minutes with a Xerox copy of an IBM printout of Terry Orchard's schedule." Capitalistism at its best! Oh and there are sentences that reference the "jive ass manuscript" !!!

    • Dorothy L. Sayers: Clouds of Witness

      Dorothy L. Sayers: Clouds of Witness
      When I was sick in mid-February I went on a detective novel reading streak. It was kicked off with one of my favorite detectives...Lord Peter Wimsey who was "born" in 1890. Ms. Sayers introduced this caper in 1927.

    • Alyson Richman: Swedish Tango

      Alyson Richman: Swedish Tango
      Written by a fellow Wellesley grad, this novel has the feel of an epic...in a concise 300 pages. It captures the evil of torture...featuring a Chilean woman in 1974. Today's NYTimes reported that this morning Augusto Pinochet (who is now 91 y.o.) was rescued from death after a heart attack. It actually crossed my mind that instead of saving the bastard they should have given him a jolt or two.

    • Daniel Hecht: Skull Session

      Daniel Hecht: Skull Session
      I picked this up in a used book store. While describing the story to Christine, I realized how much I liked this rather creepy thriller.

    • Khaled Hosseini: The Kite Runner

      Khaled Hosseini: The Kite Runner
      One day I was in a SF cab with an Afghani driver. We were chatting, and he made a comment that Afghanistan is the 51st state. The Kite Runner is a tremendous introduction to a country that is so far away, yet so intertwined with my own.

    • John Grisham: The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town

      John Grisham: The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
      This is John Grisham's first attempt at non-fiction. When I first started reading, I was annoyed. Too dry. Then things got moving. It is a worthy read. Especially if you've ever pondered our criminal justice system, the death penalty, and the possibility of innocent people being wrongly accused.

    • Edwidge Danticat: The Dew Breaker

      Edwidge Danticat: The Dew Breaker
      A short novel that was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist. Ms. Danticat is from Haiti. I remember the first time I read one of her short stories in the NewYorker and I still remember the storyline! The Dew Breaker is equally memorable. Haunting.

    • Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club: A Novel

      Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club: A Novel
      A great airport purchase! A fun, fast, historical thriller...with a cast of 19th century poets translating Dante into American English. It is a bit bloody, but then the circles of hell are probably bloody too.


    • Curtis Sittenfeld: Prep: A Novel

      Curtis Sittenfeld: Prep: A Novel
      Tobi gave me this book. Given the pink and green belt on the cover, I don't think I would have read it on my own accord. Tobi said she read it b/c of her book club. : ) This novel is a painful reminder of how much adolescence sucks...and how cool it is to be an adult!

    • Ellen Gilchrist: Victory Over Japan

      Ellen Gilchrist: Victory Over Japan
      This is my second Ellen Gilchrist book. VOJ is the book of short stories that Tom (my writing instructor) suggested I read. He said that my short stories were of the same sort of "sassy" prose and that I could learn from Ms. Gilchrist's approach and style. I only dream that I could write anything like this!!!

    • Etgar Keret: The Nimrod Flipout: Stories

      Etgar Keret: The Nimrod Flipout: Stories
      Keret is one of Israel's hottest young writers. This is a book of short stories. Some are hilarious, others are quite sad. They all might cause you to question your perceptions about Israel and her people.

    • Colin Cotterill: The Coroner's Lunch

      Colin Cotterill: The Coroner's Lunch
      Vientienne, Laos, 1976. Marxist-Leninists, free thinkers, shaman Hmongs, American special ops units, a lot of dead bodies...and even more spirits. Enjoy!

    • Richard Nisbett: The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why

      Richard Nisbett: The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why
      When I showed this book to my mom, and then my dad, they both asked me the same question, "Which are you?" Although Professor Nisbett never mentions the number of years/generations in the US, his findings show that Asian Americans typically still think like Asians. Given that I have ancestors from both Asia and Europe, I assume I am a true blue hybrid.

    • Natsuo Kirino: Out : A Novel (Vintage International)

      Natsuo Kirino: Out : A Novel (Vintage International)
      Out has been on my "To Read" list for awhile. I finally picked it up after all my WC friends raved about it. It is a fascinating depiction of women in modern Japanese society...and the lengths they'll go to to protect themselves and one another. Not a book for the queasy or faint at heart!

    • Imre Kertesz: Liquidation (Vintage International)

      Imre Kertesz: Liquidation (Vintage International)
      I've been buying books that I can read in one sitting. My options tend to be page turning thrillers or very slim novels. This 130 page novel packs a punch. Kertesz, a Nobel Prize winning author, wrote a page turner that also makes one THINK!

    • Nicole Krauss: The History of Love: A Novel

      Nicole Krauss: The History of Love: A Novel
      Characters from around the world, of different generations, at different places in their lives...who come together in NYC because of a book. Nicole Krauss does a great job making the characters come alive. I admit...I had tears running down my face at the end of this brilliant story.

    • Madeleine Albright: The Mighty & The Almighty

      Madeleine Albright: The Mighty & The Almighty
      I saw Madeleine speak at BookPassage. Her reflections on America, God, and World Affairs are right on...and critical during this era of chaos amongst our current administration. The world needs America to send thoughtful people back to the White House!!!

    • Michael Frayn: Headlong : A Novel (Bestselling Backlist)

      Michael Frayn: Headlong : A Novel (Bestselling Backlist)
      I have mixed feelings about this book. Martin, a philosopher turned art historian/speculator, drives me crazy. Yet, his quest is fascinating...and with the power of the Internet...I was able to "see" the art he describes. Given the title...headlong...Frayn probably intended me to be annoyed.

    • Carolyn Parkhurst: The Dogs of Babel : A Novel

      Carolyn Parkhurst: The Dogs of Babel : A Novel
      What a wonderful novel. And, what a sad novel. And what an interesting idea..teaching a dog to talk to learn what happened to your dead partner. An idea, conflict, emotion. Tom always said that's all you need!

    • Lily  Tuck: Siam : or The Woman Who Shot a Man

      Lily Tuck: Siam : or The Woman Who Shot a Man
      In my day of post accident recovery, I decided to read a book. Some good old fiction. And one short enough to get through in a day. Siam was a great choice! It is an interesting snapshot of 1967 Thailand. I also felt the wanderlust itch creep back...

    • Irvin Yalom: The Schopenhauer Cure : A Novel

      Irvin Yalom: The Schopenhauer Cure : A Novel
      I have read all of Irvin Yalom's fiction. It is always about a psychiatrist and his patients. Dr. Yalom is a great model of someone who uses his work life as inspiration for fiction. This novel might be his best!

    • The Arbinger Institute: Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box

      The Arbinger Institute: Leadership and Self Deception: Getting Out of the Box
      This book opened my eyes to some very simple but fundamental truths. Don't let the title of the book fool you. This isn't a book just for so called "leaders" and work situations. The ideas can be applied at work, at home, with extended family, at the gas station, in the supermarket, when bumping into someone on the street...

    • Thomas L. Friedman: The World Is Flat

      Thomas L. Friedman: The World Is Flat
      Suggested reading for the position I was interviewing for. I got the job...and now it is required reading! First "business" book I've read in awhile. Friedman is a journalist and commentator, and his book is FASCINATING! Read it!

    • Richard Zimler: The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon

      Richard Zimler: The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon
      This is a fascinating and heartbreaking novel about a community, family, and man who lived in Lisbon during the early part of the 16th Century. Zimler's depiction of what it was like to live at that time is vivid, graphic, and unforgettable.

    • Walker Percy: Love in the Ruins

      Walker Percy: Love in the Ruins
      It took me way to long to read this book. Not sure why. Parts of it I really liked, and parts I could do without. The crazy thing is it was published in 1971 and some of the political leftwing/rightwing characterizations ring true today.

    • Jane Smiley: Writers on Writing, Volume II: More Collected Essays from The New York Times

      Jane Smiley: Writers on Writing, Volume II: More Collected Essays from The New York Times
      This book has been next to my bed for weeks, perhaps months. I read a couple of chapters every week or so. Each chapter is only a a few pages long. Some are super short. I find some of the authors inspirational. I need to WRITE!

    • Philip Roth: The Plot Against America (Vintage International)

      Philip Roth: The Plot Against America (Vintage International)
      Philip Roth imagines what would have happened to the USA if FDR lost his third bid for the presidency to Charles Lindbergh. The main character in this novel is a young boy named Philip Roth. Through his eyes we see the country becoming increasingly anti-Semitic and un-American. It is a phenomenal tale. Read it!!!

    • Ellen Gilchrist: The Anna Papers : A Novel

      Ellen Gilchrist: The Anna Papers : A Novel
      Tom, my writing instructor, suggested I read Ellen Gilchrist's short stories. This novel was sitting on my bookshelf. In three parts, it tells the story of Anna from many different perspectives. I look forward to Gilchrist's book of short stories that I just bought. She's amazing!

    • Barry Lopez: Resistance

      Barry Lopez: Resistance
      This series of short stories is from the point of view of a number of Americans who feel compelled to "disappear" when the Patriot Act begins to prey on their civil liberty. A couple of the stories are shocking and heart breaking.

    • Tom Wolfe: I Am Charlotte Simmons : A Novel

      Tom Wolfe: I Am Charlotte Simmons : A Novel
      Tom Wolfe masterfully captures the specific cadences of whatever world he focuses on. This time it includes the diversity of a modern university. This novel is hilarious!

    • Neal Stephenson: The Diamond Age : Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (Bantam Spectra Book)

      Neal Stephenson: The Diamond Age : Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (Bantam Spectra Book)
      Another Neal Stephenson novel. I really love this guy!

    • Kazuo Ishiguro: An Artist of the Floating World (Vintage International)

      Kazuo Ishiguro: An Artist of the Floating World (Vintage International)
      A novel of perception, and how it changes over time, over time.

    • Robert J. Sawyer: End of An Era

      Robert J. Sawyer: End of An Era
      My friend Les gave me this book a couple of years ago and I just got around to reading it. It is science fiction at its best.

    • Mark Haddon: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Vintage Contemporaries)

      Mark Haddon: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Vintage Contemporaries)
      All I can say is WOW!!! What a great way to tell a story. Haddon truly gets into the mind of young Christopher.

    • Gabriel Garcia Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude

      Gabriel Garcia Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude
      I read this wonderful saga for the second time. Tom, my creative writing teacher, said "Read it and think about how on every single page something incredible happens."

    • Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason: The Rule of Four

      Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason: The Rule of Four
      The reviewers are right, this novel falls somewhere between Dan Brown and Umberto Eco's work. In the three bears theory of book rating...this "is just right" if you're looking for a fun summer read.

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    January 04, 2010

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    BLM

    You are 45?! So young!

    Jen Okimoto

    Mittany - Glad you'll take looking at the positive side under advisement! Look forward to hearing how it goes.

    Mittany

    I am a curmudgeon about making resolutions. But I like your idea of tracking the good stuff.

    I'll take this idea under "advisement". Thanks Jen!

    Jen Okimoto

    Jasmin - Thanks for the good cheer! I appreciate the encouragement and I will keep you posted.

    Jasmin

    Yay go Jen GO! (Can you hear me cheering you on from down under?)

    :)

    Actually I just polished off a big bowl full of every kind of vegetable. And yesterday I had a salad sandwich packed with goodness for lunch. When I start eating like this I realise how simple it is to do. I'm looking forward to reading how you go with the food, the sleep, and the exercise!

    Happy New Year Jen!

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